Fragment VI

Warning: gore ahead.

“These bloodstains will never come out,” I mutter to my ruined reflection in the mirror. 

Splatters of coppery red are splashed down my tasteful white dress, as if someone has thrown a bucket of red paint over my front and down my arms. I could easily get away with the red paint lie, if not for the smell.

I touch one spatter in particular congealing below my collarbone. I touch it, shiver, and remember earlier in the evening…

“You’re here.” His eyes widened in pleasant surprise. He smiled and held the door open for me. What a gentleman. I stepped inside, surveying the large room. Candlelight flickered from the beautifully set table, lights of the surrounding skyscrapers washing the place in a cool glow from beyond the floor to ceiling windows.

Two steaks rested on a cutting board on the marble island in the kitchen a few steps away. I caressed the handle of the knife by the sink, thinking of the one hidden in the pocket of my dress.

“And you dressed up,” he murmured appreciatively, placing his hands on my waist from behind. I allowed myself to melt into him, one last time, letting him pepper kisses down the side of my neck. I breathed in his cologne and wished he wasn’t such a terrible fucking person.

He pulled out a chair for me but I shook my head and picked up the wine bottle. “You go ahead and sit. I’ll pour the wine.” He obeyed and spread his napkin on his lap, just like he’d done his whole life, living like royalty, his family name shielding him from reality.

I poured myself a glass of delicious pinot noir first, keeping my hands steady. He flashed me a smile as I moved toward him and filled his own glass, placing the bottle well out of reach. 

I stood behind him and put my hands on his shoulders, kneading gently. “Had a rough day today, baby?” I whispered next to his ear. His head fell back, enjoying my ministrations. I kept kneading his aching muscles, waiting for my conscience to scream at me, or at least to whimper. 

“Don’t stop now,” he whined, head still back, eyes closed. “I could get used to –”

Lightning-fast I had the silver dagger in my left hand, holding his dark locks tightly with my right. Before he could say or do anything I slashed the blade across his bared neck, sawing a bit to get right down to the bone.

The feeling was exhilarating; my heart felt like it would beat out of my chest. I smiled in relief while he gagged and choked on his own blood.

I put the still bloody dagger back in my front pocket, letting go of his head. 

It was barely still attached.

The bloodbath was glorious. I couldn’t help myself from dipping my finger in the dark black blood pumping down his chest and licking it, tasting him one last time.

Hugging him daintily I happily smeared his blood on myself. I took a look at myself in the ornate mirror close to the door before stepping out, leaving the heavy door ajar.

To the fire exit door at the end of the empty hallway I went, using my least bloody finger to touch the password onto the keypad. At the green light I pushed outward into the night and up the flight of stairs to the roof.

The helicopter was waiting, ready to lift away at my go-ahead. The pilot did a double-take when he saw me but is paid well enough to never ask any questions.

Smiling, I told him, “Happy Halloween, Trev. Think there’s still time for trick-or-treating?”

Fragment V

Another taste of the story I’m writing…


The call came in the middle of the night.

She woke with a start, her mind still in that foggy place between sleep and wakefulness. She could not tell if she had been dreaming. This was good; lately her dreamlife was made of memories of rot, of bodies beaten and broken and screaming for help, accusatory eyes staring holes into her soul…

She sat up and dug around the couch cushions for her cell phone. When she found it and saw the display, she cursed loudly.

2:30 a.m.

Her mother was calling. She let the phone ring and ring, wishing like hell the bottle on the coffee table was full and not pathetically empty. In the darkness, she moved from the tiny living room to the tinier kitchen. She set the phone on the counter just as it stopped ringing.

She counted, one, two, three, four, and yanked open the freezer. The pretty bottle of vodka nestled between the ice tray and bags of frozen veggies was supposed to be for special occasions. Or so she told herself.

She didn’t bother with a glass. She unscrewed the cap and on the third burning gulp when her cell phone rang again, she almost felt prepared to answer.

Only when half the bottle was gone did she finally pick up.

“Hi, mom.”

“My God! Finally! I’ve been calling you for almost -”

“- an hour. I know.”

“You’ve been ignoring me.”

“Been trying to.”

“Are you drunk? What’s wrong with you?”

“I’m fine.”

“Don’t lie to me. You’re an awful goddamned liar and I can’t deal with your shit right now.”

“Right, mom. Sorry. It’s all about you; I forgot. Spit out whatever you have to say so I can hang up and we can go back to our merry little lives.”

Silence.

She thought her mother had ended the call but then, quietly: “Your gran died. The funeral is in two days. Show up, or don’t. At least you can’t say you didn’t know.”

She pulled the phone away from her ear and clicked the small red ‘end call’ button. She brought the bottle of vodka back to the couch with her and stuck her cell phone back into the cushions.

Her mother’s words were crushing. So she took a deep, shaky breath and then took another drink. And another.

Soon she was floating; there was a blissful nothingness here, a numbness where her brain did not fret about the future or agonize over the past.

Sleep took her with a quickness typically reserved for the dead.

Fragment IV

A cool breeze flutters the curtain. The midafternoon sky has turned dark; thunder rumbles in the distance. This is his brother’s time. But the brother is dead.

Lightning crashes and Summanus appears at the front door.

I wait on the other side. My hand hesitates. Around all others, I am easily able to disguise my feelings and thoughts. I cannot hide anything from Summanus; he sees into my mind. He watches the machinations tick and whirl.

Or, at least, he used to.

I open the door. Summanus has his fist lifted to knock again; his dark eyes meet mine and he unfurls his fist. He cups my cheek gently, stroking his thumb along my cheekbone.

The tenderness is entirely unexpected. The god of night lightning has never been known for being affectionate.

“You’ve sent your minions away, Euryale. You did not wish for them to hear you come undone beneath me, hmm?”

I recoil instantly. “Shay and Thira had business to attend to on my behalf. Exactly what business is none of yours, so please do not ask.”

Summanus raises a dark brown eyebrow and lets his hand fall. “Invite me in, my love. Lest I stand in this wretched rain forever and catch a chill. You wouldn’t want that, now, would you?”

I roll my eyes. The rain has not touched his human vessel. I stand aside and let him enter. He kicks off his boots an I close and lock the door. The magickal wards will be ineffective while he is here.

A chance I take only when a god visits, I assure you.

Fragment III

“He left me to rot; to die alone in misery; heartbroken. He crushed me under his boot, cracking me open like the carapace of a brittle spider. I tried to curse him. I did. But the more magic I used, the weaker I became. It would have been easier – still it would be easy – just to die. But purpose has kept me here in this wretched world. She came to me. Enveloped me. I was reborn in the darkness. I am alive in the night. Blood keeps me and sustains me. In my loneliness I succumbed. I created others. They left me, as well. I cling so hard, squeeze so hard; I suffocate, truly.

Yet I endure. For Thira. For you.”

Fragments II

“I’ve got a lead.”

She scrubs a hand across her face. She is paler than usual, and I can tell she has lost weight. The dark smudges beneath her blue eyes cannot be hidden with make-up.

“You have had leads before.”

She glances away, flinching a little at my tone. I should be nicer; she has not slept well in a very long time.

I have not slept well in longer.

“Yeah, well, this is real. Not some kid playing pretend like last time. I made sure. Before I came here.” Now she holds my gaze and I see a glimmer of the old Lindy Crow, the indomitable force of nature that slit my throat with no hesitation ten years ago.

I nod, thoughtful. I believe her. “Would you like a drink?”

I do not bother to hide my smile when I see the fear flit across her features. “Of what?” she asks. Trying to sound casual.

Standing, I smooth imaginary wrinkles from my silk gown. Her eyes stay on my hands. The thin black robe I pulled on earlier has fallen open. I tap a crystal tumbler with my fingernail and she breaks from her reverie. “I’m having vodka, darling. Shall I mix you a double?”

“No. Uh, no thank you.”

“Nothing at all, then? Are you sure?”

The crystal catches the lamplight and sparkles. Lindy watches me pour myself a drink with naked want. She wets her lips and replies, “Water. Just water.”

Full glass in hand, I move from the silver service cart to my desk, a carved mahogany monstrosity that I refuse to part with. I buzz the kitchen downstairs where I know Shay is camped out in front of her laptop. “Please bring our guest a bottle of water. The door is open.”

Lindy says, “I have photos.” She reaches into her cross-body bag and fishes out a white folder covered in smeared fingerprints and ink doodles. She places the folder in the middle of the low, oval table between us. The table’s silver and pearl inlays also sparkle in the light. Once Lindy had marveled at the opulence of this room, jokingly calling it the queen’s receiving chamber.  The thick white carpets, the opalescent touches, the silver candelabra, the gentle scent of roses, all give the room a royal air. The French doors leading to the master bedroom are ajar. Lindy cannot help but glance into the darkness beyond.

I take the folder and remove the photos. I parse through the stack slowly. Some are grainy images taken from a security camera. Others are blurred shots from a cell phone camera. I hold onto the clearest image and let the rest fall to the table.

There she is, my pet. Caught under a streetlight at dusk. A knit cap is pulled over her blonde hair, and the collar of her navy blue trenchcoat is flipped up. She has watched too many silly spy movies. There is a nondescript stocky looking fellow standing next to her.

“Who is this man?”

“I don’t know yet. But – see that, on the back of his hand? I know that symbol. I know where to find him.” …